Nutrition Explained: Proteins

Protein plays a heavy role in energy, weight loss, building muscle tissue, mood and overall brain function. Proteins are also used to make enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters and various tiny molecules that serve important functions. You’ve heard of protein, but have you ever read further into what it does and why we need it? Below is a beginners guide to the world of protein.

What is Protein Made of?

Protein is made up of amino acids. They combine in different ways to make different proteins. There are 9 amino acids the body can only get from food. These are call the essential amino acids.

Where Can We Get Protein From?

You can get a lot of protein from nuts and vegetables but animal products contain all 9 essential amino acids. Vegetables are missing some of the essential amino acids. Food products such as meat also contains nutrients and other things beneficial to us which is why protein shakes aren’t harmful, they shouldn’t be your only source of protein throughout the day.

What Are Some Low-Cal / High Protein Options?

There are lots of food such as nuts that are high in protein but the amount you would have to eat would make you pile the pounds if you also aren’t exercising. If you’re following a diet only plan then try: chicken breast, any lean meat such as ground lean turkey, shrimp, turkey breast, tuna, ground beef (low fat and lean) and venison.

How Much Protein Do I Need?

If you’re at an average weight, you don’t lift weights and you don’t exercise much, then aim for 0.36 to 0.6 grams per pound you weigh (or 0.8 to 1.3 gram per kg) is a reasonable estimate.

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